Free flu jabs for residents most at risk of becoming ill this winter

Residents aged 65 and over in Merton are being encouraged to have a free flu vaccination to help them stay healthy this winter. Older people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu and immunisation can help to protect them from catching the virus.

Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Merton council are supporting this year’s Stay Well This Winter campaign, led by NHS England and Public Health England, which aims to encourage everyone who is eligible for a free flu jab to get vaccinated. As well as residents aged 65 or over, pregnant women, carers and people with a long-term health conditions are all eligible for a free flu vaccination and are advised to have one every year.

More primary school children in Merton are now eligible for a free vaccination to help protect them from flu this winter. Children in Year 3 as well as pupils in Years 1 and 2 are now being offered the free flu nasal spray vaccination. Pre-school children aged two, three and four can also have a free flu vaccination.

Dr Andrew Murray a local GP and Clinical Chair of Merton CCG, said: “Anyone over the age of 65 or with an existing health problem should make sure they get the flu jab.  Flu can make the effects of existing conditions worse and make serious complications like pneumonia or bronchitis more likely.

 “Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles. The flu vaccination will help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to other family members including older relatives. The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children to be protected without the need for an injection.”

Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Tobin Byers said: “Catching flu is a miserable experience for everyone, but for some people flu can increase their risk of developing a more serious illness.

“This is why it is important for residents over the age of 65, people with long-term health conditions, carers, pregnant women and young children to have their free vaccination now, before the first outbreaks of flu this winter.”

For more information about the flu vaccination and eligibility for a free immunisation, visit: www.nhs.uk/staywell 

Residents aged 65 or over, pregnant women, carers and people with a long-term health condition should contact their GP’s practice or their local pharmacy to arrange their free flu vaccination. For a full list of Merton pharmacies offering the flu vaccination, visit: www.mertonccg.nhs.uk 

Parents of children aged two, three or four should contact their GP practice about getting a flu vaccination for their child. The nasal spray vaccine is not licensed for children under the age of two.

Parents of pupils in Years 1, 2, and 3 will be offered nasal spray flu vaccine at their primary school by the immunisations team working in Merton schools.